After recently catching Gozu at The Eye of the Stoned Goat festival at The Acheron, Small Stone Recordings were nice enough to send me their most recent album, The Fury of a Patient Man. Let me be the first to tell you, an album title has seldom fit an album’s sound so well. Mixing explosive metallic riffs with the buzzed fuzz of stoner rock and one of the smoothest croons in loud rock, Gozu’s music absolutely sounds like a guy who’s most often composed finally unleashing his demons and frustrations. Luckily, the result isn’t a crime spree, but a collection of catchy hooks that walks that fine line between melody and aggression with grace and confidence.
“Bald Bull” features the croon I just mentioned, a weapon provided by Marc Gaffney, that approaches falsetto without ever seeming shrill. It’s the epitome of cool, and he helms the album with a rare quiet swagger. This song is the perfect introduction to Gozu’s brand of crunchy rock and captures their style in three and a half minutes that invoke both Fu Manchu and Eagles of Death Metal while remaining a totally separate, unique entity. The album is full of memorable cuts that use pop sensibility while never feeling formulaic. “Charles Bronson Pinchot” blasts with some of the heaviest moments on the album, and even dips into psychobilly (think: Reverend Horton Heat’s “Galaxy 5000”), “Traci Lords” delivers soaring guitars (provided by Gaffney and Doug Sherman) that crash into a haunting stretch of headbanging-inspiring distortion, and “Ghost Wipe” charges ahead with the unpredictable energy of Tomahawk, just amplified one hundred time louder.
There are a few promising songs that have moments of brilliance but don’t fully click: “Disco Related Injury,” besides being my favorite song title in a long god damn while, wastes some killer opening and bridge stoner riffs with a weak chorus, and despite the fun clap-along percussion of “Salty Thumb,” the song never kicks into the next gear. The wild-card on this album is the 23+ minute closer, “The Ceaseless Thunder of Surf,” which rides its riffs like a wave and uses Barry Spillberg’s excellent drumming to escalate the potentially patience-testing song to an experience like a pleasant psychedelic trip on a beach after eating some exotic cactus meat. The song’s extended length is a risk that definitely pays off.
The Fury of a Patient Man is a versatile, dynamic release that displays significant songwriting ability and remains accessible while never betraying its roots as a heavy rock album. Gozu can groove with the likes of Acrimony and Queens of the Stone Age, who also took the foundations of stoner rock and injected the sort of personality and vitality that resulted in landmark albums for the genre. Gozu are absolutely worth your time and attention, and despite crafting songs with super-charged distortion and muscular riffs they’re never less than approachable. It’s the sort of music that acts like a gateway drug to welcome reluctant listeners to heavy music. Also, Gozu might be the band I would most like to watch a movie marathon with, starting with Escape From New York, then Serial Mom, followed by their namesake, and ending with something on the grand scale of the Bronson-starring Once Upon a Time in the West, to match their grandiose closing song. Their movie taste almost matches their musical talent, and that’s high praise from an elitist film school prick like me.
Check out The Fury of a Patient Man on Bandcamp here and purchase it for $10: http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/the-fury-of-a-patient-man
Also, check out Small Stone for more awesome releases. They’re conveniently having a sale with selected $5 CDs right now, so load up on some good stuff: http://www.smallstone.com/